Associations between postprandial insulin and blood glucose responses, appetite sensations and energy intake in normal weight and overweight individuals: a meta-analysis of test meal studies

Br J Nutr. 2007 Jul;98(1):17-25. doi: 10.1017/S000711450768297X. Epub 2007 May 25.


It is unclear whether postprandial blood glucose or insulin exerts a regulatory function in short-term appetite regulation in humans. The aim of this study was to investigate, by use of meta-analysis, the role of blood glucose and insulin in short-term appetite sensation and energy intake (EI) in normal weight and overweight participants. Data from seven test meal studies were used, including 136 healthy participants (ALL) (92 normal weight (NW) and 44 overweight or obese (OW)). All meals were served as breakfasts after an overnight fast, and appetite sensations and blood samples were obtained frequently in the postprandial period. Finally, an ad libitum lunch was served. Data were analysed by fixed effects study level (SL) meta-regression analysis and individual participant data (IPD) regression analysis, using STATA software. In SL analysis, postprandial insulin response was associated with decreased hunger in ALL, NW and OW (P < 0.019), and with increased satiety in NW (P = 0.004) and lower subsequent EI in OW (P = 0.022). Multivariate IPD analysis showed similar associations, but only in NW for hunger, satiety and EI (P < 0.028), and in ALL for EI (P = 0.016). The only association involving blood glucose was the multivariate IPD analysis showing an inverse association between blood glucose and EI in ALL (P = 0.032). Our results suggest that insulin, but not glucose, is associated with short-term appetite regulation in healthy participants, but the relationship is disrupted in the overweight and obese. We conclude that the postprandial insulin response may be an important satiety signal, and that central nervous system insulin resistance in overweight might explain the blunted effect on appetite.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Appetite Regulation / physiology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose / physiology*
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Overweight / physiology*
  • Postprandial Period
  • Satiety Response / physiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin